…For a More Enjoyable Pregnancy and Birth
Want to have a pleasurable birth? Or at the very least, a manageable birth where love, joy and embodied power surround you and your baby? Have you ever considered that birth is sexual and that tapping into your sexual and sensual energy might help you birth your baby?
Ina May Gaskin, midwife and author of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirthand Spiritual Midwifery is famous for saying, “The energy that got the baby in is what gets the baby out.” I have seen this to be very true within my practice as a doula. The mammas that are fully embodied and empowered within their sexual and sensual selves tend to have a particular grace with riding the waves of intensity. They tend to flowwith the power of birth, instead of working against it. On top of that, oxytocin, the love and bonding hormone that you release in orgasm, cuddling and saying “I love you,” is the hormone that makes your uterus contract.
As much as sex can be a very effective way to move birth along, not all birthing mammas want to go into the overtly sexual realm. So, let’s expand our interpretation of Ina May’s statement beyond a focus on the sexual energy and really look at it as LOVE energy. Feeling connected to LOVE can be one of the most inspiring, relaxing and motivating elements in the birth process. Being surrounded by love during birth is crucial for mammas, and this is often where doulas come in. Not only do we come to births radiating unconditional love for the babies, our clients and the mysterious process of birth, but we free up the partners to have more room to focus on the love instead of all the logistics of the birth. Love is the key ingredient in birth because love helps us to feel safe so we can relax, and when we can relax, we can open, and when we open our babies come out!
Keep in mind that whether or not you got pregnant by having sex, it was most likely your loving connection to your partner, or simply your longing for more love in your life, that inspired you to have a baby. Even if you accidentally got pregnant with someone you weren’t in a relationship with, or if you chose to have a baby on your own, it was the search and longing for more love in your life that got that baby into your belly. Sex, at its very core, is often an expression of love, love for and with yourself, love for and with your partner. That love is the seed your baby grew from, that love is their essence. It’s only natural then to harness the love and sexual energy that made your baby, to bring more pleasure, joy, connection and ease to your baby’s birth. You might imagine, that if love is the essence of your baby’s being, that you could literally use love as a magnet to coax your baby out of the womb and into your arms.
In order to connect with the power of our sexuality, we don’t have to be relating to someone else. We can be fully expressed in our sexuality all on our own. One mamma told me how towards the end of her pregnancy her sexual appetite was insatiable, yet her husband was nervous about having sex with her. So she dusted off her old vibrator and spent some quality time with herself over the last week of her pregnancy. She told me that her orgasms during that week were so much deeper and more intense than anything she had experienced before. Twenty four hours before her labor began, she had an orgasm that felt like she was about to give birth, she was so open, expansive, full of love and joy. When she finally was in the throes of her labor, she experienced the surges as waves of energy that mirrored what she felt in those orgasms, just 40x more intense. The surges were infused with the same joyful energy of her orgasms which is part of what helped her through her natural hospital birth and left her feeling joyful, powerful, proud and passionate about natural birth.
While we’re on the topic of masturbation, I’ll share another story. A number of years ago I witnessed a client using her own sexual response to ride the waves of birth intensity. She was immersed in a tub of warm water, experiencing what seemed like incredibly powerful surges, even though she was still in early labor. At some point she reached down towards her vulva and appeared to be feeling around. I asked her if she was trying to feel baby’s head and she barked at me,”I’m rubbing my clit, it makes me feel better!” How amazing that she so intuitively tapped into he body’s natural pleasure making abilities to help her manage the intensity. After a long night, her baby was gently born on her bedroom floor.
Another mamma whom I was with for her 4 natural births (including one footling breech!) told me how her past experiences of anal sex really informed how she was able to give birth without pain. “In both birth and anal sex, you have to be completely relaxed, completely open. The more relaxed and surrendered you are, the deeper you can take it. In both experiences I found myself surrendering to a greater sensation, envisioning opening instead of constricting. The moment I would constrict, I would feel pain. Instead, I loved the feeling of opening wider than the universe to allow my parter in, and to release my babies out.”
I could go on forever with stories like these, and will in my forthcoming book on conscious childbirth, but for now I’ll leave it at that and give you some ideas of how you can get started.
Here are some ideas for ways that you can tap into love energy and connect with the sensuality that can make your birth easier and possibly even pleasurable:
Give yourself and your baby an “oxytocin bath” by sitting quietly and saying “I love you,” at least 3 times, out loud to your baby while rubbing your belly. You will likely recognize the surge of oxytocin as a tingle or a warm, relaxing feeling. You can do this anywhere, in your car, at work, on the toilet, in the bath or right before bed. Its a great way to counteract stress, as well as to connect with your baby.
Dance! Not only should your birth playlist consist of Zen flutes and soothing sitars, but also some juicy tracks that put you in the mood and make you want to move in sensual ways. Try out your playlist alone first and focus on songs that inspire you to feel fluid, soft, juicy and sexy. Then play those songs to your partner and have a private dance party… and maybe even a lap dance! When you hear those songs in labor, it will bring you right back to the love that was flowing when you were dancing with your sweetheart. (For book, mention belly dancing as ancient art of preparing for birth)
Speaking of getting into the mood, start playing with ways that you like to set the mood for sex and intimacy. Consider how you might be able to bring that into your birthing environment, whether you’re planning on birthing at home, a birth center or in the hospital. Do you want to light candles, rub yummy oils over your body, have luxurious fabrics around your body, scent the air with aromatherapy, or eat chocolate?
Buy yourself some sexy lingerie to accentuate your new curves. Find a clingy dress or a top to show off your luscious cleavage.
Enjoy some soft, open mouthed kisses with your partner. Without any other touching, see if you can feel the warmth of the kisses connecting down into, opening and lubricating your vagina. You may even allow your mind to wander towards a fantasy of where you’d like to be touched, kissed or caressed next, but stay with just the kiss for now. If you sense that in order to feel the mouth-to-vagina connection, you need your partner to kiss you in a different way, make sure to let them know. Ina May believes that juicy, open mouthed kisses at the moment of birth help women’s perineums remain intact!
If you want to take it to the next level, take it into the bedroom and practice telling your partner out loud what you like and how you like it. Make sure to also let them know when something doesn’t work for you, or when you want something that isn’t part of your usual routine. Be bold in sharing your fantasies. Trust that your partner will not judge your fantasies, let them know your true heart’s desires. When you feel comfortable advocating for your own pleasure in sex with your partner, it will open the doors for you to ask for what you want, and refuse what you don’t, during your baby’s birth.
While making love with your partner, try breathing down into your vagina. See if you can get your breath to connect right into the places where your partner is stimulating and opening you. Then, try making more sound than usual. Really use sound to express what you feel, and focus on directing it down through your throat, belly and vagina, just like you did with your breath. You may find that you can even intensify your pleasure with the vibration of the sound.
Try having sex on all fours. Not only is this a favorite sex position for women in later pregnancy, but it’s one of the best positions for birth, as it helps to relax and open the pelvic floor and take baby’s weight off of mamma’s back. Be as present as possible with the sensations and like the mamma of 4 mentioned above, practice envisioning yourself opening wider and wider, feeling your partner opening and relaxing you to make way for your baby.
Ask you partner to softly stroke your body, as if their fingers are like feathers caressing your curves. In HypnoBirthing we call this Light Touch Massage. Have them cover as much of your body’s surface as possible in a rhythmic, consistent pattern. Practice focusing on that sensation, letting your breath and your mind help you to intensify the pleasure. If you have an area of your body where you tend to have discomfort, invite your partner to focus on that area and notice how the discomfort is overridden by the pleasurable sensation. This technique works wonders in labor, especially when you start to use it early on in the process.
Remember, it was love that made this baby and what will surround and nourish them on the outside, so keeping that love flowing as you head towards and through your birth.
One last thing, get maternity photos taken! Whether nude or partially clothed, the right photographer will make you feel like a goddess. (If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area I’d be happy to help you out with this one!)
We’d love to hear more of your ideas and experiences in the comment section here.
May your baby’s birth be filled with love, joy and juicy goodness!